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Electric Vehicle Battery Guide

EV Charger At Work

Electric Vehicles (EV) are going to be the new normal in years to come. The UK government says that diesel and petrol cars will be phased out by 2030. This milestone is a part of the UKs plan to become a zero carbon economy by 2050.

As more electric vehicles appear on UK roads, so do the charging points. Many companies have already switched their fleets. Most notably, The University of Birmingham has transitioned to low-carbon vehicles. The London Fire Brigade has also converted part of its fleet to EV.

You may have lots of question if you’re buying an electric car for the first time. The main question that comes is around batteries. Electric vehicle batteries have dramatically improved since being first introduced. However, they still carry many misconceptions.

So how reliable are electric car batteries? This guide will help you understand everything you need to know.

What is an EV battery?

An EV battery is typically lithium-ion or lithium-polymer. They are designed for high ampere/hour usage. They are deep cycle and designed to deliver power over the long-term. EV batteries can charge each day without significant loss of capacity.

Can I travel long-distance with my electric car?

Yes. Many electric cars offer ranges of over 250 miles on a full charge. Each manufacturer is different, just like each car has different miles per gallon.

Here are some of the more popular electric car ranges:

Car

Range (Full Charge)

Tesla Model 3 Long Range

348 miles

Jaguar i-Pace

292 miles

Kia e-Niro

282 miles

Hyundai Kona Electric

278 miles

Nissan Leaf e+

239 miles

Audi e-tron

239 miles

 

If you’re planning a long overnight stay, there are multiple fast charging stations located across the UK. Many are located at motorway services.

What are the different types of EV batteries?

EV producers use different types of EV batteries, depending on the model of the car. While the majority of EVs use lithium-ion, there are other variants.

Lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are the same type used in most smartphones and laptop computers. They also have a high power-to-weight ratio and energy efficiency. They are also popular because most of the parts can be recycled. There are several variants of lithium-ion batteries.

  • Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide is used in some BMW models.
  • Lithium iron phosphate is used in the new Tesla Model 3.
  • Lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide is found in the Tesla Model S.
  • Lithium titanite is in the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Nickel-metal hydride batteries

Nickel-metal hydride batteries are also found in computers and other electronic equipment. They offer good power capabilities and have a long life cycle. They are commonly found in hybrid vehicles.

Lead-acid batteries

Lead-acid batteries are high power and are inexpensive and reliable. They are not commonly used in EV vehicles, mainly because they have low life cycles. Lead-acid batteries are used in some commercial vehicles.

Ultracapacitors

Ultracapacitors store energy to be used alongside other batteries.  They are high-capacity but with lower voltage limits. This helps to bridge potential gaps that can occur with rechargeable batteries. They are often used as secondary energy-storage devices in EVs as they help deliver steady power.

How much does it cost for a new electric car battery?

Many electric vehicle manufactures offer a warranty of up to 8 years. This means it won’t need to be replaced it unless it is faulty. You should always check your warranty before purchasing an electric vehicle for peace of mind. Each manufacturer charges different prices based on the car requirements. Standard car batteries are not suitable.

Electric vehicle batteries will last between 10 - 20 years. The technology of EV batteries is continually improving. An EV that has done over 100,000 miles only loses around 5% of its capacity.

Are EV batteries sustainable?

That’s a difficult question to answer.

EV batteries are usually compared to diesel and petrol. Comparative to fossil fuels they are far more sustainable. They don’t generate any emissions or pollution directly. Emissions are produced in the manufacture and supply chain of the batteries. Batteries are made from minerals and chemicals. The effort of mining these elements creates pollution. There can be unethical working conditions and low environmental standards in some countries’ mining operations.

EV batteries can be recycled. Lead batteries are difficult to recycle. It is possible to separate the components and re-use them. However, the UK cannot currently do large-scale recycling. This problem needs to be addressed. The UK has ambitious net-zero carbon emission targets. To achieve, we will need more recycling solutions and better environmental standards for EV batteries.

The company Tesla and the US are investing in battery research. Longer-lasting and efficient batteries mean a reduction in global emissions.

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